Fence Stain Calculator

Use the calculator below to estimate how much material you’ll need to paint or stain a fence.

Fence Size
Picket Layout
Paint or Stain Details

Paint/Stain Estimate:

Total Stain Needed:
Stain Needed per Coat:
Total Square Footage:
Learn how we calculated this below

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How to Estimate Paint or Stain for a Fence

Over time, a wooden fence can become weathered and dull, and you’ll need to paint or stain it to restore its beauty and protection. Before you start the painting or staining process, it’s crucial to estimate how much paint or stain you’ll need to complete the project.

There are a few things you need to do to estimate paint or stain.

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Step One: Measure the Fence

Measure the length and height in feet of each fence panel, then multiply them together to find the total square footage of the fence. Repeat this process for each section of the fence, remembering to measure the gates as well.

If you’re finishing both sides of the fence, you’ll need to double your square footage measurement.

Step Two: Note the Type of Wood

The type of wood you’re trying to finish will determine how much paint or stain you need to cover it fully. Softwoods, such as pine, will absorb more paint or stain than hardwoods, such as cedar.

A new fence constructed using new, unfinished lumber will also absorb more finish than one that has already been finished, painted, or primed.

The age of the fence will also play a role. Significant weathering causes the grain of the wood to open and will require much more paint or stain to get full coverage than wood that is not heavily weathered.

Most experts also suggest using a semi-transparent or solid stain for wood that is weathered to avoid a blotchy, uneven look that results from using clear or translucent stains.

If there are any sections of the fence that are beyond repair, then it’s best to fix them before you apply the new finish so they blend with the rest of the fence. Learn more about how much it costs to repair a fence.

Step Three: Choose a Paint or Stain Product

The color and type of paint or stain you use also affects how much is needed to fully cover the fence. For example, very light or very dark colors may require additional coats to evenly and completely cover the fence.

Each type of paint or stain varies in how much square footage it will cover per coat. Check the can to find the coverage rate for the specific product you intend to use.

Typically, one gallon of paint or stain covers 250-350 square feet of fence.

Step Four: Calculate the Amount of Paint or Stain Needed

Once you have the measurements of the fence and the coverage rate for the product you’re using, it’s time to calculate how much paint or stain you need.

Start by dividing the square footage of the fence from step one by the coverage rate of the product you’re using.

Then, multiply that by the number of coats you want to apply. Typically, two coats are required to get a good finish, but keep in mind that very light or dark colors may require an additional coat.

If the wood is new and has not been finished before, or if it’s very weathered, then you’ll need to account for this and add a bit to your estimate.

You should also consider adding an extra 10% of additional paint or stain to account for spillage, overspray, etc.

In general, refreshing a fence with a few coats of paint or stain is a cost-effective way to restore its beauty and protect it from the elements. Over time, these costs can add up, however, which is an important consideration when choosing a new fence, and why many choose to install a vinyl fence instead of wood.

You might also be interested in calculating stain for a deck.